Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Teapot manufacturing: molding

There are two ways in making teapots.  One is molding and the other way is by shaping with a turning wheel.  In either case, each part: body, lid, spout and handle are made separately and they are joined together later.  There are many other works that are involved such as making a strainer, adjusting the fitting of the lid and body, and baking.  Molding can create the same designed teapots in large amount of production, and they are usually priced more reasonably than the ones created with the turning wheel.  However, I think that molding process deserves to be called handmade as well.  Each procedure is done by manual work and the same amount of effort is exerted for molded teapots and wheeled teapots.

This is an example of the mold.  They are for a tea cup.

A small hole to inject the clay

In ceramic molding, you pour liquid clay into the plaster mold. When the clay dries up, you take it out from the mold.  The mold consists of multiple pieces for you to open it, so it is possible to take the molded piece out.  There won’t be a problem for a simple shaped product like a tea cup.  However, it doesn’t work that way for a globular part like a teapot’s body.  Here is a quiz for you.  Can you guess how it make possible?  I’ll tell you the answer in the next entry.

For iron cast kettle, the inner mold is made up of sand or clay where you can disassemble the mold in pieces and take them out.  Try to picture unpuzzling a child's lego toy.  That easy.  You cannot use these steps for ceramics.  


  1. Teapot body is made from two parts instead. Usually there is even a visible line on the body. Somewhere I read, that sometimes one of the two parts is already molded with handle.

    1. Yeah, you are right. You can make the globular body by assembling with two parts! However, it is not a common method around my area (Tokoname, Seto and Mino).

    2. Thank you for your reply. So only lower quality pots are made from two parts? I saw it mostly on some common "orange glaze" kyusu. Btw, I really like your site, I mostly drink Chinese tea, but I love Japanese as well and since I work at local teahouse and try to improve my skills and knowledge of tea your site is an excellent place for very useful information!

    3. I’m not sure that the pots made from two parts can be simply considered low quality. The manufactures that I know don’t make teapots in that way. So, I don’t know their quality.
      Oh, you are working at the teahouse! You must have tried so many different teas. Thanks for visiting my blog!